Pacific Spirit Regional Park is one of the last places in Vancouver where children can play in nature. However, each year when we survey the park’s illegal trails we find more and more areas around elementary schools being impacted by off trail play.
Tom Nichols and the origins of Pacific Spirit Regional Park
The opening of Pacific Spirit Regional Park in 1989. Tom Nichols is in the back row under the word “for” in the grey sweater. Photo: MV Archives
Current role in the Park: Ivy League Leader
Preserving the Park since: 1973, before it was a park!
Favourite trail in the Park for Cycling – Council Walking
Favourite trail in the Park for walking – Sword Fern between Marine Drive and Imperial.
Tom was a steward of Pacific Spirit Regional Park well before it became a park and remembers the days when the “trails” were old logging roads. In the 1950’s and 60’s the endowment lands were slated for residential development, which motivated concerned neighbours to advocate for the protection of the beautiful forest and its unique ecological, cultural and historical values. Tom joined the Endowment Lands Regional Park Committee in 1973 and worked with them for 16 years until formation of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park (PSRP) was finally announced on December 10th, 1989.
Tom’s work in the Park did not stop there. He volunteered with other members of the Endowment Land Regional Park Committee to be a presence in the Park until 1991 when Metro Vancouver (then GVRD) established their Park Association partnership in the Park. Seeing the spread of invasive plants throughout the Park, Tom started tackling the English Ivy, which grows along slopes and up trees, reducing the stability of the slopes and trees and threatening native plant biodiversity.
Even though Tom has been preserving the Park for over 40 years, he maintains a strong vision for the future. Tom is working with Pacific Spirit Park Society and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks to develop an invasive plant management monitoring system which meaningfully measures the impact various invasive species have on the park in order to prioritize invasive plant removal. Further, Tom is looking at possible compensation restoration sites with the development of a new Metro Vancouver Pacific Spirit Regional Park works yard.
* Participants 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
Congratulations to the Appleby Family in Abbotsford on winning the Kid’s Book Gift Card!
Contest Question: What is your favourite thing to do in Pacific Spirit Regional Park?
Their Answer: “Exploring and trying to find Star Wars land.” They are pretty sure there is a secret portal somewhere in BC!
Earlier this month I heard a wonderful story of how a little fence at the Pacific Spirit Regional Park Beaver Wetland has allowed for ecological restoration to naturally occur. In response to a concerned park user, Metro Vancouver staff installed a little fence this summer to block off-leash dogs from exploring in the Beaver Wetland. Over the past few months there has been a remarkable return of native plant vegetation, such as sedges and rushes, which create ideal breeding habitat for Northwestern Salamanders and Pacific Tree Frogs. While dogs love to check out the wetlands and streams in the Park, it is important to remember that these ecosystems provide important habitat and protection for lots of wildlife.
Curious about what other native wildlife has been seen in the Beaver Wetland this year?
- Coyote (including young)
- Northwestern Salamander
- Pacific Tree Frog
- Mallard Duck (including ducklings)
- Tree Swallow (nesting in hollow trees)
- Willow Fly-Catcher
- Golden Crown Kinglet
- Ruby Crown Kinglet
- Orange Crown Warbler
- Bush Tit
- Pacific Wren
- Cooper Hawk (nesting)
- Red Tail Hawk
- Downy Woodpecker (nesting in pines)
- Pileated Woodpecker (nesting in pines)
- Bald Eagle (observed teaching their young how to fly and hunt)
- Kingfisher (hunting)
- Great Blue Heron (hunting)
- Barred Owl
I wonder what you will discover the next time you are at the Beaver Wetland. The best place to view the wildlife is on Spanish Trail, between Pioneer and Salish (see red circle on map below).
You can let us know what you find at email@example.com.
Exciting news from a community volunteer, Yvan Boily, on an upcoming educational videogame that features Pacific Spirit Park. Kids will have a chance to learn history, about native/invasive plants, and how to manage them!
You can check out his post here.
HAPPY FALL PLANTING!
Fall is a busy time around the Park, as Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and the Pacific Spirit Park Society plant trees in recently cleared areas. Most of the year the PSPS Eco Team works on removing invasive species from ecologically sensitive or heavily impacted sites. However, it is especially important to replant native species in large areas that have been cleared of invasive plants, in order to:
- increase native plant biodiversity,
- re-introduce native plant seed sources,
- out-compete or shade returning invasive plants,
- decrease erosion and
- improve wildlife habitat
Last weekend we had over 150 volunteers help plant nearly 1,000 trees along Salish Trail, near SW Marine Drive. Over the next few weeks we will continue planting another 3,500 native trees and shrubs on the site. If you are interested in joining in the fun, please email Krista at firstname.lastname@example.org or find one of events on MeetUp.
The Eco Team will be working hard over the next few weeks to prepare the 2016 Pacific Spirit Regional Park Eco Blitz site for planting. Once covered in invasive Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry, this site will soon become a lovely native forest with lots of plant diversity with a little help from you.
Scotch broom may be pretty, but it quickly becomes the only plant in sight. Plant diversity is very important in ecosystems because it provides a variety of wildlife with habitat and a source of food.
Plus, Scotch broom is invasive. That means that it is not native to BC, spreads very fast and does not have natural ecological competitors, such as insects and other plants that can help stop this plant in it’s tracks.
That is why we need you to help us finish removing the scotch broom on October 8th and 15th.
Then, on October 22nd and 29th the Eco Team will be planting 1000’s of trees to help out-complete the scotch broom and provide a home and food to lots of birds and forest animals again.